Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, filed the case in federal court in Manhattan on her behalf, alleging an April 18 tweet in which Trump said the sketch was a “total con job” constitutes an accusation that she fabricated the threat and resulted in her being exposed to ridicule and violent threats.
“Mr. Trump used his national and international audience of millions of people to make a false factual statement to denigrate and attack Ms. Clifford,” the complaint states.
Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, claims an unidentified man approached her in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011 and threatened her to not discuss an alleged affair 2006 sexual encounter with Trump.
Trump’s tweet also said the man was non-existent and suggested no such threat was made.
Avenatti said the tweet was meant to discredit Daniels and resulted in damages in excess of $75,000.
“It was apparent that Mr. Trump meant to convey that Ms. Clifford is a liar, someone who should not be trusted, that her claims about the threatening encounter are false, and that she was falsely accusing the individual depicted in the sketch of committing a crime, where no crime had been committed,” he said in the complaint. “Mr. Trump made his statement either knowing it was false, had serious doubts about the truth of his statement, or made the statement with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity.”
On Friday U.S. District Judge S. James Otero issued a 90-day stay in a separate defamation lawsuit against Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen over his denial of Daniels’ allegations she had an affair with Trump.
Daniels initially filed a lawsuit seeking to nullify a hush agreement arranged by Cohen and involving Trump in exchange for a $130,000 payment. Cohen said he made the payment to Daniels using his own money and that he was not reimbursed by Trump.